In today’s economy, companies with experienced leadership are thriving. A management degree prepares you to adapt your skills to any field and focus on the future of an organization. Management careers are available in every career area, from education to health care.
“This degree is really industry-unspecific,” says Dr. Timothy Pettit, academic program director of National University’s Bachelor of Arts in Management. “This is more for the person who already has the hands-on entry-level skills and wants to move into management. They want to help the team do a better job.”
The Bachelor of Management Degree at National University
The Bachelor of Arts in Management degree provides students a business-related degree with an emphasis on managing organizations and personnel in a multicultural and global setting. Students complete the program with the ability to:
- Describe the basic functions of management on the operations of the organization.
- Employ management theories in planning, organizing, leading, and controlling organizations.
- Apply organizational theories to enact positive change.
- Explain the effect of international business environmental factors on the conduct of global business.
- Apply the principles of ethical decision-making in the everyday conduct of business.
Bachelor of Management Degree Courses at National
Students begin their studies with core classes in economics, marketing, production, ethics, international business, and information systems. The management degree is designed to be applicable in any field but allows seven electives for students to familiarize themselves with a specific area of business. These concentrations allow undergraduate students to focus on specific career fields, such as alternative dispute resolution and business law.
Higher-level BA in management courses include organizational behavior, leadership, human resources management, and strategy. Once students reach their junior year, they can take six upper-division electives to enhance their marketability in management.
Dr. Pettit encourages students to embrace their passions and individuality as they advance in their studies. “This degree was designed around the concept that everyone is different. Everyone has a different purpose,” says Dr. Pettit. “You never know what your future is going to be like. You’re going to build almost your own customized degree.”
Bachelor of Management Degree Concentrations
The BA in management also offers seven concentrations to allow students to gain marketable skills that can set them apart.
Dr. Pettit explains that the management degree is very broad. This is where the seven concentration areas come in. “What you’re showing a potential employer with a concentration is that ‘I have a broad understanding of business, but I can also dig deep and get into the skills. I can prove that I can learn all the details,’” says Dr. Pettit. “Even if [the concentration] is not what your job ends up being, you can leverage those specific skills.”
Students can choose from management concentrations such as:
- Alternative Dispute Resolution.
- Business Law.
- Human Resource Management.
- Project Management.
Taking a concentration can open up careers in all different areas of business, but students have time to decide if a concentration is right for their path. “You don’t have to decide everything up front,” Dr. Pettit says. “Just take everything that’s planned for you and save all those ideas for later, then select which courses will benefit your future career.”
Management Skills and Real-life Application
Learning how to be successful in a management career goes beyond what you can find in a textbook. At National, students determine not only what it means to be a reputable member of management, but also how to continuously learn on the job. These skills begin in the classroom, where students’ questions are answered and strategies are discussed, but move to real-world examples and, eventually, in the field where their knowledge is put to the test.
In the bachelor of management courses, students will focus on honing their skills in the following areas:
Learning from Other People’s Mistakes
Managers learn how to handle dispute resolutions. Some conflict management strategies are more effective than others.
“That’s what the management degree is about — learning from other [people’s mistakes]. All those things that have been tried. Some things work; some things don’t,” says Dr. Pettit. “We’re going to try to teach our students all the things that do work, and give them the skills so they can pick the right skill to use in the right situation.”
Leadership and Process Improvement
Successful managers must effectively motivate their staff to work toward a common goal. However, since different people are likely to respond to different forms of motivation, assessing individual needs is essential in managing productive teams. Dr. Pettit shares an example of employee motivation in action by recalling a class field trip to a Toyota manufacturing plant in Kentucky.
“They would always point out this big glass room above the assembly line and highlight that people would stay after work — in groups — on their own time, to improve the process,” Pettit explains. “Why would they do that? They’re off the clock, they’re not getting paid.”
Turns out, these employees were sticking around because of an incentive program: a portion of the profits for creating viable solutions or new methods to the factory’s work. Both Toyota employees and the company benefited from this program. Learning how to implement incentives instead of focusing on punishment-based policies and results is an important lesson for management students.
“If all you do is punish, no one will take risks…We need to try new ideas and try new things. If we don’t try, we’re never going to get any better,” Dr. Pettit says.
The Effective and the Efficient
Effectiveness and efficiency are two major aspects of management.
“The effectiveness part is ‘Can you get it done right and on time?’” Dr. Pettit says. “The efficiency side is ‘Can you get it done at the lowest possible cost?’” Students learn how to apply these strategies to create a successful business model that has the company’s present and future goals at the forefront.
Strategic planning is another area of focus in the BA program: specifically, the development of short and long-term goals. Planning areas include operational, tactical, and strategic planning. Entry-level leaders and supervisors might focus on operational planning. Students learn how to manage a team and how to use their strong communication skills to motivate team members. Tactical planning usually occurs at mid-level positions, such as a department head or director. Students learn to assess a situation and then implement the best skills and tactics to resolve the issue. Strategic planning most commonly occurs within upper-level positions, such as a vice president or chief executive officer. Students focus on learning how to assess the future of an organization and plan for long-term sustainability, efficiency, and growth.
In this area, students learn about creating organizational structure within the context of workplace culture. This means looking at the staff and determining who should be placed where and in what position. “[Organization is about] putting the right people in the right places,” says Dr. Pettit. “That’s just setting the stage for success. That’s what a manager does.”
Management is also about controlling the organization. This means that students are trained in measuring the success of an organization and which metrics and KPIs are important. “[Controlling organizations] involves both people adapting and process improvements,” says Dr. Pettit. Students also are taught to analyze metrics and assess how to respond in a business situation to shifts in results, whether the metrics are negative, positive or stagnant.
On the Job Perspective
BA in management students at National don’t just focus on the hypotheticals of working in the field. They learn from instructors who are experts in the field: managers, directors, and supervisors who bring their real-world knowledge to the classroom.
National’s BA in management is an online degree program, and Dr. Pettit says his adjunct professors are working professionals from companies all around the country. This means students learn about first-hand encounters, such as what was discussed in the FedEx boardroom.
“You’re going to have a class from a gentleman who works at Amazon. He’s not going to tell you the long-term plans, but he’s going to allude to what they have in the works,” Dr. Pettit continues. “You’re not going to find this information in the textbooks. The professors are talking about their companies today, not ten years ago.”
Communication and Writing
Classes in the management program are not just case-based: “Our classrooms are 100% focused on applying [these skills] in the business world. It’s all about identifying those key variables and putting them into practice,” says Dr. Pettit.
Students review critical and in-demand soft-skills in communications and writing. They master how to effectively communicate with both their teams and their bosses, not only to explain new procedures and ideas but how to give a 30-second status report on their projects when they interact with a boss in the elevator.
Because students are given such a broad foundation in management, students develop an awareness of all areas of an organization. “You need to be able to go across the hall and talk to the people in your marketing department. You need to be able to understand the language of finance. You need to be able to get everyone together and lead the whole team,” says Dr. Pettit. “This broad management degree is exactly focused on being able to understand the implications of everything that is going on.”
Where You Can Work with a Bachelor of Management Degree?
Management degrees are versatile in their application. Graduates are able to move into almost any field. Dr. Pettit says this degree gives you a breadth of knowledge that spans through all the divisions of management, which is why the BA in management degree is so advantageous.
“Many companies will hire a CEO who does not have an awareness of the particular field,” Pettit says. “They want people with the outside perspective to come in without the baggage of ‘Well, we’ve always done it this way.’ They want people to see how could we do it and bring in outside perspective and outside knowledge.”
Because the management degree is so broad, graduates aren’t chained to any specific field or area of business. A management degree can open up a career in a variety of professional positions, including:
Entry-level Management: Operational Planning Management
- Department Manager.
- Store Manager.
- Account Manager.
- Sales Manager.
Mid-Level Management: Tactical Management
- Department Head.
Senior Management: Strategic Management
- Vice President.
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Students in the management program are not only able to use concentrations and electives to customize their degree to their interests; they are also able to earn this degree from anywhere in the world. The online degree option allows for Dr. Pettit and his colleagues to teach students who are serving in the military, who are overseas, or who are working full-time and need the flexibility to make their educational goals a reality. In fact, in one of his night classes, Dr. Pettit even has a student living in Japan who logs on to attend lectures from across the Pacific.
Management degree students must take 76.5 quarter units at the upper-division level and 70.5 units of general education courses to satisfy their degree. This means that the degree is completely flexible to a student’s needs and desires and can be tailored to transition to the MBA degree immediately following graduation. To achieve maximum flexibility, the major in management program minimizes prerequisites, enabling students to take the required courses in any sequence.
Transitioning to the MBA
Moving into an MBA program is a great opportunity to build on the foundations of the BA program and focus more on a specific area of interest.
At National, management degree students have the option to take three higher-level electives that count towards a master’s degree in business administration. Once students take these courses, they are counted towards their bachelor’s degree. However, if a student chooses to go on to the MBA, they will have three of their courses already completed. Since the MBA can be completed in less than a year, students who capitalize on the higher-level electives can finish their MBA in as few as nine months.
“It’s like getting double credit. You can take your electives in the BA in management program and then transition them to the MBA,” says Dr. Pettit. “That’s a major time accelerator and time saver.”
Joining the Program at National
If these skills and job opportunities or the ability to customize your management degree interests you, then a bachelor of management degree may be right for you. To learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Management degree at National University, please visit our program page.